Over the summer, Australian mom Lisa Bridger made headlines when she revealed that she still breastfeeds her 7-year-old son.
Now, she’s speaking out after she was bombarded with criticism for her choice.
Bridger told Kidspot in June that she’s in-part decided to keep breastfeeding her son because he is on the autism spectrum and it helps keep him calm.
She said in the initial story:
“Breastfeeding has prevented him having to go on to medication because it calms him down. It calms and grounds him and is a fantastic way to reconnect too.”
The mom has five children and said she’s been breastfeeding for the past 20 years, since welcoming her first child.
She also still breastfeeds her 4-year-old son, who also has autism.
And in an open letter published over the weekend, the mom defended her decision.
She wrote on Kidspot that she believes natural weaning age is “four-eight years” and her eldest son is in the “normal range.”
Bridger said the comments she received after the first news story made her “really sad,” including accusations that she is a pedophile for breastfeeding her older children.
She wrote in the open letter:
To the adults who have commented that I am sick and need to get help, there is nothing mentally wrong with me, I am only doing what is natural. It’s not a sexual act, I’m not a paedophile which is what quite a few have suggested.
The mom said that her son doesn’t get teased for breastfeeding, but that she gets bullied by adults.
Still, she refuses to switch to other methods such as putting breastmilk in a cup. Bridger explained:
I don’t respond well to pumping or hand expressing, the cup doesn’t offer the comfort breastfeeding does, this I imagine is for your comfort not my child’s.
The mother of five said she’d continue breastfeeding her son even if he didn’t have autism.
According to Mayo Clinic, babies generally start to wean naturally at six-months.
After that, parents should start adding solid foods to their diet, based on the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.
Any “extended breastfeeding” is recommended and up to the parents.
How to do you feel about breastfeeding older children?